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Discussion Starter #1
I have a set of speakers that I built several years ago in which I used a PSA veneer that has been delaminating recently. I spent an hour last night peeling the old veneer off and have some new unbacked veneer that I am going to replace it with. I intend to use the cold-press method to install the new veneer and am looking for advice in doing it. Ideally I would use a vacuum system to install it but I don't have one available and not sure I want to make that investment right now. If it was just flat surfaces I could use clamps and a platen board (and I will for most of the surfaces). However, I do have six curved surfaces on these speakers that make it a bit more complicated. The radius of the curves are around 6' and the approximate dimensions of the curved surfaces are about 18"x12" for two speakers and 36"x12" for the center speaker with the width of each speaker tapering from front to back.

Anyone have any idea of the best way for me to apply the veneer to the curves? I have read about filling a pillow case with sand and using that to apply pressure, but I'm not certain that would be heavy enough to make a good bond with no air bubbles. I suppose I could do that and then clamp a board over it to be able to apply more pressure but I still am not confident that that would apply consistent pressure across the face. I could also bend and clamp 1/4" plywood as a platen board directly over the veneer but I'm afraid there would be areas that would not get enough contact. Then I'm thinking that maybe clamping the 1/4" plywood over some 1/8" dense foam might work. Any thoughts on the above approaches or other ideas?

Thanks!

Matt
 

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Matt - some photos would help with the most accurate options.

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The peal and press veneer is a pretty poor product. I would only use that for a project that was only used temporally.

What you are doing is pretty difficult without the proper equipment. What you might do is cover the speakers with phenolic backed veneer. It's formica with a real wood veneer on the face. Then it could be applied with contact cement. You can order formica from most box stores. Surely one of the laminate manufacturers they represent would carry the veneer. If you can get it in vertical surface laminate it would bend easier. Vertical surface laminate is about 1/32" where standard laminate is about 1/16" thick.
 

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Locally there's some woman wanting an old bed repaired and it has several tight, small corners relaminated and they all have veneer peeling, about 2" radius on them. She seems to believe the piece is a priceless relic from another era ,but then shows the picture of the Lane furniture logo. It's not that Lane is all junk and in fact they've sold some nice stuff over the years. However, this is not one I'd touch even if I had all the equipment. She might be willing to spend enough to make it worth someone's time, but I kind of doubt it..some of the 2" radius pieces are just 2" period right smack in the center of a wide span, likely a queen size bed. Good luck matching up that one..
 

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The only way I see you doing this successfully with clamps is making a mold that closely matches the curve and using a high density foam or something similar to fill gaps.

Hammer veneering would be a good approach, no clamps or press needed. You would lay down strips using hot hide glue. Just throwing it out there. It would require learning about HHG but can be done with minimal equipment (homemade veneer hammer, slow cooker, etc). Maybe not practical for a one off project, tho.

Then again, there’s contact cement, but you didn’t hear that from me........
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for the replies. Here is a picture of the speakers (I still need to sand the residual adhesive remaining from the PSA down). You can see that the curve is pretty mellow, but a curve nonetheless. Still thinking that using 1/4" ply and bending/clamping it over the veneer with some thin foam between might do the trick for the curved surfaces - basically what DrRobert is saying. That is how I applied the 3 plywood sides to the cabinets. Just want to avoid air bubbles and not sure how I'd know if there are any or not until it's too late.

I probably don't want to tackle hammer veneering for this. If I was going to take on a new approach I think I'd just buy a vacuum system since I would likely have use for it in the future. However, I just want to get these done and back in service. I've done the iron on approach on other projects, but I'm not great at it and I don't think it's appropriate for unbacked veneer anyway.

Thanks again for any input and I welcome further advice.

Matt
 

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Matt,

As I intimated, not a huge fan of contact cement and veneer, but in this case I'd be tempted to go that route. With contact cement its over with and done.

Regardless of the method you use, if you are planning to flush trim I strongly recommend a down cut spiral flush trim bit even so be real careful the grain direction. Veneer can be climb cut very safely :)

If you're concerned about glue bleed through with unbacked veneer, you can seal the glue surface with a coat of shellac.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks for the additional replies.

I did purchase a downcut spiral bit for trimming the edges. Not sure if I'll actually use my trim router though or end up hand trimming and then a light sand to finish the edges.

I don't love the contact cement option. I've used it on a few other builds many years ago and while they still seem to be holding strong, for some reason it just doesn't appeal to me. I'll think on it a bit more. I would have to do something with the back of the veneer though as I think contact cement will easily seep through unbacked veneer. Maybe I'll test a small scrap piece with the shellac as you recommended Dr.

Ogre - just to clarify, the new veneer I am applying is not PSA. The veneer that was on the speakers and delaminated was PSA that I applied about ten years ago. The new veneer that I am trying to figure out how to apply is a nice unbacked Birdseye Maple.

Matt
 

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The problem with contact cement and veneer is it's not that strong of an adhesive. If for any reason the substrate shrinks regular veneer will just bubble up. The only veneer I will use contact cement on is phenolic veneer. It's rigid enough it won't bubble with a little wood movement.
 
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